Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Material Cultural Heritage in Slovenian Dialects: A Geolinguistic Presentation

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.05.01  Humanities  Linguistics  Languages - research 

Code Science Field
H401  Humanities  Dialectology 

Code Science Field
6.02  Humanities  Languages and Literature 
Slovene linguistic atlas, Slovene dialects, lexics, material cultural heritage
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (13)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  10899  PhD Vanda Babič  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  87 
2.  32205  PhD Januška Gostenčnik  Linguistics  Junior researcher  2011 - 2014  123 
3.  19181  PhD Tjaša Jakop  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  354 
4.  10288  PhD Carmen Kenda-Jež  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  305 
5.  29391  PhD Mojca Kumin Horvat  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  208 
6.  08100  PhD Irena Orel  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  319 
7.  25040  Peter Pehani    Technical associate  2011 - 2013  97 
8.  05799  PhD Vera Smole  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  511 
9.  23441  PhD Matej Šekli  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  439 
10.  10353  PhD Jožica Škofic  Linguistics  Head  2011 - 2014  658 
11.  23555  PhD Jernej Vičič  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2014  183 
12.  07635  PhD Peter Weiss  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  701 
13.  20690  PhD Danila Zuljan Kumar  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  458 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  95,391 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  61,885 
This three-year research project will involve recording and transcribing dialect material in the field, especially on the margins of Slovenian linguistic and ethnic territory in cross-border areas, dialect material and technical additions to the interactive database, and linguistic analysis and geolinguistic presentation of Slovenian dialect vocabulary in the field of ‘rural material and cultural heritage, i.e. nouns and verbs that designate the places and items in Slovenian farmhouses, outbuildings and farm work’ to the extent defined by the SLA questionnaire, i.e. 155 questions with commentaries and approx. 120 lexical and/or word-formation maps. This is lexica which, together with the changing of the material and spiritual world of rural Slovenian man, is disappearing from the living vocabulary of the modern Slovenian language, so its presentation and linguistic analysis is even more important – not only for Slovenian but also for Slavonic and European linguistics and for anthropological and ethnological research into the Slovenian national space. The lexical material, which has been collected for the SLA since the 1950s, covers 413 regional subdialects in Slovenia and cross-border areas. Some points still need to be checked and updated for this part of the questionnaire – because of demographic threat, particularly in certain peripheral regions, and because of the falling number of native dialect speakers, this will not be easy. The material will be transferred from the card catalogues and binder catalogues to the SlovarRed database with the help of the ZRCola transcription system, and the Geographic Information System (GIS) will be used to enable their presentation on linguistic (i.e. lexical and word-formation) maps. At this time the GIS will need to be supplemented with data on the extent of regional subdialects, thereby demarcating the polygons, which will be determined by techniques for manufacturing innovative variables that describe the possible demarcations, taking into account geographical criteria and the database of settlements in Slovenia. A precise list of the material in the Slovenian dialect transcriptions accompanied by graphic and audio material in the database, together with technical literature, will serve as the basis for a morphological analysis of the material. Due to diverse phonological developments, this is very complex for Slovenian dialects because each phonetic simplification necessary for making a map, while strictly observing the phonetic rules of each local subdialect, may stem from a different time period: late proto-Slavonic, late common Slovene, or contemporary standard Slovene. The goal of the research is to publish the second volume of the SLA as well as continue to develop suitable tools and methods for transcribing, analysing, and geolinguistically presenting dialect material and updating it. An indirect, long-term goal of the research is also to investigate the development of Slovene across time and space, as well as its diastratic and diatopic variation. Moreover, to understand the boundary between Slovene and neighbouring languages and their variants, it is also important to determine the bundling of the isoglosses demarcating the boundary between individual developments. This research will be a continuation of the project ‘Vocabulary of the semantic field of ‘man’ in Slovenian dialects: A geolinguistic presentation’ (publication of the first volume of the SLA), and at the same time will add to it through an original (but harmonised) manner of digitising dialect material, analysing it, annotating it and presenting it geolinguistically on linguistic maps. An interactive (spatial) presentation of dialect data (released on CD and online) will be an original step (never before done in Slovenian linguistics).
Significance for science
These dialectology studies are important not only for Slovenian dialectology, but also for Slavonic and broader European dialectology (which also includes participation in the international projects for the Slavic Linguistic Atlas and European Linguistic Atlas), and they are also connected to other linguistic disciplines (e.g. etymology, sociolinguistics, history of the literary language) and non-linguistic disciplines (especially ethnology and history). The results of dialectology studies can be used as material for additional narrowly focused and professionally oriented studies, or for direct and indirect comparison with the findings of their studies, as well as for multidisciplinary scholarly use and the preservation of national natural and cultural heritage. Despite its deficiencies, the collection for the SLA is the richest collection of dialect material from the entire geographical territory of Slovenia and it has therefore long been a resource for researchers from Slovenia and abroad in shedding light on the history of the Slovenian language. Because of the geographically marginal position of Slovene and its resulting archaisms, it is also an exceptionally rich resource for etymological, comparative, and contrastive studies of the Slavic languages and the entire Indo-European language family. Because we still do not have a dialect dictionary covering all the Slovenian dialects, the atlas and its index will also be of indirect use as a collection of words and lexemes for selected semantic fields, which encompasses Ramovš’s notion of the atlas as ‘a kind of dictionary that is not arranged alphabetically, but geographically’.
Significance for the country
The results of the research are interesting not only for the professional community, but also for users among the general public who are interested in the life and use of dialect vocabulary that, together with the things it describes, is disappearing because of the changing world and is known only by the oldest dialect speakers (especially in the countryside). Because of the influence of the literary language, the use of local subdialects is changing, in some places it is moving toward convergent development; that is, dialects are receiving not only a different image, but also a different role in everyday life compared to what they previously had. The cartographic presentation of dialect words with professional commentary makes possible a flexible approach to dialect vocabulary for both non-expert users and non-speakers of the dialect, the maps make it possible to present Slovenian dialects more clearly in schools, and with the help of these maps the proverbial dialectal diversity of Slovenian will also become clearer to non-Slovenians (also tourists, businesspersons etc.). The results of the research are therefore interesting for the promotion of cultural tourism and different societies trying to preserve the local cultural heritage and local, regional and national identity). The results of the research will be exceptionally important for the preservation of Slovenian cultural heritage, identity and independence; due to the increasingly greater communication flow through Slovenian space, globalisation, and modern lifestyles, dialects are changing relatively quickly at all linguistic levels, especially at the lexical level. Words are disappearing together with the objects and activities that they name, or are being replaced by loanwords from various contact languages. It should be stressed that the European Union specifically supports the maintenance and development of national languages, especially those with smaller numbers of speakers, and the Slovenian language, with its dialect fragmentation and different national affiliation of speakers, is certainly one of them – while Slovene is not even an officially recognized minority language in all neighbouring countries inhabited by Slovene (dialect) speakers. What gives the Slovenian language and its dialects a special value is the country’s geographical location at the crossroads of the extreme (southwest) Slavonic, Romance and Germanic language groups. Because the material for this research was collected throughout the second half of the 20th century and has also been supplemented in the 21st century, its transcription, analysis and presentation to the public also represent an opportunity to preserve at least part of this cultural heritage, and to thereby increase the possibility of the preservation of national identity, especially at the margins of Slovenian linguistic territory – that is, in all of the neighbouring countries as well. It is well known that emigrants in particular, because of reduced contact with their country of origin and native language, also lose contact with the development of their native language, and in their speech and idiolects they often preserve (developmentally) older forms of their native local subdialects. The atlas will therefore also be of significant help to them in preserving cultural and national identity despite a lack of knowledge or the non-active use of literary Slovene. The Atlas could therefore make an important contribution to documenting and preserving national and linguistic identity, especially in demographically endangered areas on the Slovenian geographical ‘margins’, e.g. in Croatia, where this kind of linguistic research, despite the rapid extinction of native local subdialects had not yet been performed.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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